It is 1955. Two primary-school teachers are charged with the task of taking forty-eight nine-year-old pupils on a school trip to a performance of “Romeo And Juliet” at the Victoria Palace Theatre, in London.
As Henrietta and Joan round up the children after the show, they discover little Susan is missing. Since their coach is due to leave Victoria Coach Station in twenty minutes, they decide that Joan will take the other forty-seven children on, leaving Henrietta to find the lost child.
After ten minutes, a tearful Susan turns up and she and the teacher head off to the coach station.
Upon arriving, Henrietta is dismayed to find that their coach has just left, with Joan and the other children on board.
“Never mind,” says an inspector, “If you take a black cab, it should get to Kings Cross before the coach. In any case, the coach is scheduled to stop there for about twenty minutes – so if you leave immediately, you should be able to catch up with your party with plenty of time to spare.”
And so it is that some twenty minutes later, Henrietta and Susan are in a black cab, winding its way through the small streets of Soho.
Susan notices the streetwalkers – still legal in these times – hanging around on the street-corners. “Miss, who are those ladies waiting for?” she asks the teacher.
“Oh… er… they’re waiting for their children to come home from school,” answers Henrietta, embarrassedly.
“Aah, why don’t ya tell ‘er the truth, lady?” shouts the black cab driver, from the front, “They’re TARTS, kid.”
“Do tarts have children, Miss?” asks the child.
“Of course, Susan,” replies the teacher, “Where do you think black cab drivers come from?”